on Studying, studying more, then doing Important, Life Changing Things

Whew! Got those three midterms out of the way last week…such a relief. This week is far better – just our patient assessment exam tomorrow and a pathophys exam on Friday. We have to take our partner’s blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol measurements…no big deal (insert slight panic attack)

For the blood pressure portion, the instructor listens in with us on a double stethoscope (!) and we must be withing 4 mmHg of their reading to pass. If not, well, let’s just not think about that. I’ve been practicing on all my roommates (ahem, victims), so I feel pretty confident.

Also, I just signed up to interview with Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, Fred Meyer, and Target…job interviews!Me!Interviewing!For real pharmacy jobs!
(take breath)
Apparently interviewing during this annual job fair is de rigeur for pharmacy students; it’s an opportunity to line up summer jobs and internships. It’s also a chance to sell part of your soul in exchange for tuition. Some companies offer to pay for tuition IF you work for them for a few years afterward. That just seems scary to me: promising to work for a company for YEARS is one thing, but promising that during my first year when I don’t really know what I want to do yet? Guf. I don’t know.

But if they’re offering me tens of thousands of dollars and a secure job out of school….



on Being Here

Just a quick thought…

I just wrote, “Acetominophen Toxicity Mechanism” at the top of my study page.

And then I thought, ” Wow. I get to study acetominophen.”
Which, now that I’m typing it, sounds completely lame, but really, I promise, it’s exciting. Because the fact that I’m studying acetominophen and how it works means that I’m starting to be a pharmacist. Just starting, but still.

I poked people’s fingers today and took their blood pressure. We did a health screening clinic at the rec center…I felt undeservedly and bizarrely official as I lanced fingers, drew blood into capillary tubes, and ran lipid panels on complete strangers who were trusting me with their fingers. I also wore my stethoscope around my neck and used my blood pressure cuff on someone other than my lab partner…

My lipid panel came back awesome…I credit it to coconut oil, butter, and bacon. No joke.

Ok. Back to wonderful, exhausting acetominophen toxicity.


on Doing the Next Thing

When overwhelmed, I reach back to a poem by Elisabeth Elliot entitled, “Do the Next Thing”. It was given to me by a dear friend after a loss, and it simply, calmly, lovingly says “Do the Next Thing”. It’s a wonderful idea, really.

Do the next thing.

Do it prayerfully.

Do it casting all care.

This week in Communications Lab we’ll be working with barriers to communication. Read: difficult patients and busy pharmacies. We’re supposed to select a certain flawed personality type to act out in a mock counseling session…sounds fun, until you’re on the pharmacist side of things.

Thursday is our first pharmaceutics exam, followed by patient assessment lab where we’ll be pricking people’s fingers to draw blood to check their cholesterol levels. GULP. I can prick a finger, I swear. It’s completely within my skill set.

(Nobody told me I’d have to puncture skin in pharmacy school! Euggh.)

Let’s see…its Tuesday, right? Right. I get to go home(!) and study(!) after lab today, until practice foundations at 2:30. Then comes more studying, possibly with a shot in the dark.

Shot in the dark? You don’t know what that is? Neither did I until last week – it’s a shot of espresso in a drip coffee that rounds out the brew beautifully, especially partnered with a healthy splash of cream. A drink most helpful in studying.

Adieu! I’m off to do the next thing!

On Early Mornings

My typing skills aren’t quite as good at 5 am.

I woke up early today to study for my first patho-physiology quiz…it’s just immune system review and an introduction to cancer immunology.

Yesterday we had the general pharmacy supervisor from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital speak in our Pharmacy Foundations class…he talked about all the different areas they use pharmacists for in the hospital. It’s such a massive system – the amount of medications and people just in the pharmacy departments is incredible.

One of the things that resonated with me was the Decentralized Clinical Services department…its a team of interdisciplinary health professionals that makes rounds to different areas and develops care plans for individual patients. Another department that was extremely interesting was the oncology center. Oncology vs. Nuclear pharmacy? I think oncology might be a bit more hands-on than nuclear; more patient-centered than nuclear.

In order to practice in an oncology department, I’d need to do a residency in oncologic pharmacy.

Which is another two years.

I think I’ll focus on today first: class till 11am, PSAC meeting at 12pm, class from 2-3pm, and helping with the Backyard Harvest stand in Troy until 6pm. I might try to jam in some studying at Cafe Moro tonight – I need to start in on the heavy pharmacology stuff for next week!

on Buckling Down

Week 3: Quiz, Pathophysiology.

Week 4: Exam, Integrated Pharmacolgy. Exam, Top 200. Exam, Pharmaceutics I.

Uh. We’re getting serious now, aren’t we?

Today, I’m piecing together a patient counseling sheet for Flexeril, or cyclobenzaprine. We’ve got to cover all the basics just like we’re talking to a patient, because come Tuesday, we’ll be ‘counseling’ someone( a fellow student) on how, when, and why they should take Flexeril… I’m pretty excited. I know its just a mock-counsel, but still. I can use this experience and the knowledge that comes with it to counsel a patient during an IPPE or some other situation. It’s so…relevant. The only hard part is how to impart all the information you need to in a way that the patient can understand but also doesn’t make them feel incompetent.

I’m also studying for that patho-phys quiz (hey it rhymes!), wrapping up scholarship applications, and finishing my calculations homework so that tomorrow can really be a day off.

And I made soup. It’s a good one…home made beef stock, veggie stock, caramelized onions, chopped cabbage, shredded salt&pepper chicken, basil, and topped with some crusty bread cubes. Perfect for an in-between autumn day like today. Alright. Back to it.

on Working Through the Uncertainty


My state of mind this morning:

I’m pretty sure that at least 94 other people in my class are smarter than me, have more experience, and are way less scared. What if I learn all this and then get out there and…forget it? What if a patient walks up to the counter, asks me (the intern) a question about their Fioricet (butalbital! acetominophen! Caffeine! It’s a barbiturate for tension headaches!), and I just draw a blank? What if I can’t get enough IPPE hours this semester or what if (God forbid) I make a mistake?! What if I fail the Top 200 final and get held back? What if I can’t calculate how much solution will make a 1:2500 prescription?

and then… this enters my mind. I’ve been reading it this week. Take a look.

Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.

2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”

3 As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. [b]

4 The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.[my uncertainty]
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, [c]
nor will you let your Holy One [d] see decay.

11 You have made [e] known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Oh. (Pause). Alright then. I’m off to study, to memorize. To prepare for Patient Assesment tomorrow. We’re learning how to take vital signs, which means that I get to squeeze a blood pressure cuff around someone’s arm and listen to their heart beat with my stethoscope (I have a stethoscope!).

I will not be shaken [because He is at my right hand]

I will rejoice and be glad [because He is my hope]

I will set Him always before me [because HE loves me and covers my faults]

I will take blood pressures and listen to heart beats and do my pharmacy calculations homework

[because that is where He has put me right now]

Praise God.